Lake Etiquette


As the last long weekend of the summer approaches, many of us will flock to a lakeside retreat to embrace the best of what the remaining days of summer offers. COVID-19 has created an especially difficult and challenging year for us all to find enjoyment within the restrictions of social distancing and self-isolation from family and friends, especially at the lake. But as we find ways to unwind this Labour Day Weekend, please consider the points in this gentle reminder as a means to maintain a harmonious relationship with your lakeside neighbours — and your lake — for continued enjoyment by all in coming years. Above painting: Ketha Newman



Water is a great carrier of sound. So any noise made, including conversations, can be heard from a distance. Consider waiting until after 9 a.m. to use those power tools, machines and lawn mowers.


Remember not everyone shares your taste in music and some folks seek peace and tranquility. So kindly please keep the volume down when playing your tunes and remember water carries sound.

Fire bans

This is serious. Please refrain from lighting campfires and using fireworks during a fire ban. Lighting fires during dry conditions could have a disastrous and deadly outcome for the Valley. If in doubt about our fire status, check the Madawaska Valley website  

Sparkling square, Ketha Newman, artist


Please be considerate of your neighbours when choosing and using fireworks. The explosive noise created can disturb folks who have to get up early to work, frighten pets, babies, or cause distress and panic in wildlife.

Outdoor lighting

By reducing the outdoor wattage, we all can enjoy the starry skies, an opportunity denied by many who travel here from urban areas. The illumination has the potential to disrupt not only your neighbor’s sleep but also the habits of nocturnal wildlife. Prey that rely on the cover of darkness will become vulnerable to predators.




Show love for your lake by naturalizing your shoreline using a vegetative buffer to prevent toxins from entering our lakes and diminishing water quality. A vegetative buffer will also enhance natural habitats and biodiversity.

The Potter’s Studio & Gallery

Safe boating

When using your personal watercraft, please keep your speed down when near shore as the large wake created damages personal property and accelerates erosion of the shoreline. The larger the wake, the more destructive it can be especially in shallower waters. Loons and other birds that nest along the shore can negatively be impacted. The wake can drown nests and their young especially during the month of May and June. Prop wash can churn up sediments in shallow water which releases dormant nutrients that promote weed growth and algal blooms. (FOCA)

As a reminder, the legal speed for all vessels near shore must be less than 10 km/hr and boats must travel at least 30 m from shore. If wakeboarding, please keep a minimum of 100 m from shore so that the waves created will have time to dissipate before reaching land.


Thinking about that fall application of fertilizer for your lawn? Resist the temptation. Keep fertilizer use away from our lakes. The nutrients in fertilizers will only promote weed and algal growth if heavy rain causes run off into our lakes.


Keep your septic in good working order as effluent from a leaky septic will make its way into the lake affecting water quality. Remember what goes in must come out (FOCA). So if your septic tank is over or heavily used, untreated wastewater escapes and makes its way into the lake via runoff or seeping into the groundwater. Additional signs that your septic is failing include: sewage backup, water from sinks, etc. draining slowly, bubbling sounds in plumbing, and bad odour or standing water around the drainfield. Use only biodegradable cleaning products when draining into your septic system.

Garbage or litter

Continue taking the time to dispose of your garbage and recycling at our Township landfill or transfer sites. Finding garbage in our lakes or roadside ditches is heartbreaking. It can lead to ground and water contamination and disease or death for our local wildlife.

Soapy products

Bathing, shampooing or laundering in our lakes contributes to the degradation of poor water quality by adding phosphates and other unwanted contaminants. And let’s not forget microbeads! Keep personal hygiene and laundering habits indoors with biodegradable products that are drained into the septic.

Saidie’s Pottery

I know that the majority of you are already practising good lake etiquette. But from time to time as we get caught up in the moment, we might benefit from a reminder now and then.

Enjoy your final days of summer and may they be stress free. Continue being safe from COVID-19, being a great neighbour to all and living in harmony with our surrounding environment. As we all come together this holiday weekend, remember we all share that one common interest … we love being at the lake!


About the author: Wendy Wolak is currently the Vice President of the Carson Trout Lepine and Greenan Lakes Association. This article expresses the author’s own personal views.


  1. MaJeana Hallstrom

    Excellent and very helpful article! I am the president of a lake association in Minnesota. I would like permission to use excerpts from the article in communications to our local lake associations. How do I go about getting this permission from your newspaper and the author, Wendy Wolak?

  2. Sue Wade

    All your points are bang on I know I will be in that boat with the Chippawa Shores project bring approved. 44 homes affecting are shoreline 3 bodies of water 6 wetlands ??? 14 homes on green lake which is a small land lock lake. It will kill green lake as it is already has water concerns . Look it up
    Save the area for all the above points and more

  3. David Doolittle

    My pet peeve is when people who spend all year or all summer at the lake feel compelled to fire up the lawn mower or chainsaw or leaf blower or pressure washer etc on the two most precious days of the week. Saturday and Sunday. Think! People!

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